I hadn't realized it but apparently I've changed my name to "The Agency Nurse".
I know, I know. We're the scum of the earth. Pulled from the flotsam and jetsam of nursing pools all over the country. We're all money grubbing, over-paid, under-qualified, who-knows-what-kind-of-background, shady RN's who are probably running from the law or some probationary-license hearing in another province.
I stood in the ER department waiting room in my green OR scrubs* for 20 minutess, wearing stethoscope and ID badge (giving what I thought would be indications that I was there to work and not for a sore throat) before someone acknowledged me. And I knew they weren't so busy that they couldn't say "hi--we'll be right with you" which is something I always endeavor to do when I am on the other side of the desk no matter how crazy it is. This power play of "I'll stop pretending I don't see you when I feel good and ready" is complete BS in my mind.
Finally someone lets me in, and I am off and running.
Or rather standing at the nursing desk twiddling my stethoscope.
So I make myself busy by seeking out the things I always locate first when in a new ED:
peds/adult neb mask
IV start kit
crash cart (and how to take it apart)
narcotics (and keys to same)
Now I can breathe a bit easier.
So I wander around like a tool, hear my new name "The Agency Nurse" being uttered every now and again. I think, "whatev...you don't know me" because they don't.
And the worst thing is the agencies exacerbate this problem by sending medical nurses or dialysis nurses to work in ICU's or ER departments which makes all the staff nurses pretty sure that if you are "agency" you have no idea how ED's work and you (in turn) are only going to make more work for them (while making more $ per hour).
After about an hour the PCC (manager) came on the floor and said "I know YOU!"
I had worked in this ED in November of 2006 for a couple of weeks. Her first shift in the hospital was covering night manager, and it was my second shift in the department. The other night nurse had called in sick so I was alone with a full ER and a full waiting room. It was fun at first but then things got really hairy and I had to call her to the department to help out. We ended up having an absolutely insane night: young woman with 3rd degree grease burn, an M.I, 3 psyche patients who were completely psychotic and had to be in restraints, all on top of the usual ER stuff like abdo pains, little old ladies, etc.
Anyway, she points at me and says (in front of other RN's, MD, MD student) "We had such a blast that crazy night! Remember the burn and the MI that came in at the same time?? Oh it's great to have you back!"
OK so now at least I had a bit of street cred.
Still no one else actually talked to me for the rest of the shift, which I was expecting. They still didn't call me by my name.
Ding! Ding! Ding!
Round 2 starts in t-5 hours.
Wish me luck (or blog fodder at least).
*I have old OR scrubs from hospital X that I 'borrowed' because I got in a MASSIVE argument with the head of infection control over the fact that the hospital provided clean scrubs (and bins to put dirty ones in) for the CCU, ICU, cath lab, OR, and dialysis staff but NOT THE ER staff. That means we wear our own scrubs to work and take then filthy-covered-in-who-knows-what back into our HOMES.
OK, excuse me? Does anyone else see a problem here? When we get patients we don't know yet if they have MRSA, VRE, TB, scabies, etc. etc. So we take care of these people for our shift then wear those clothes home. All the other dept have the luxury of time to tell them what little critters folks are bringing with them to the hospital and so can glove and gown etc. accordingly.
The infection control woman told me that
"as an ER nurse I should be using universal precautions with everyone".
Someone slap me! I have never thought of that!
So I asked her if universal precautions meant gloving, gowning, specific instruments for every patient in the department. And she said "no, just the ones you suspect are carrying something".
Sigh. You'd think an infection control-bot would know that you can never know who is carrying what, sweetheart.